“You’re a what?”
“I’m an indie author.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that I write independently and self-publish.”
“So, you’re not a real author then?”
An indie author is any author who writes then self-publishes to sell, who takes both writing and publishing seriously, who wants to reach as many readers as possible and to grow a profitable author/publishing business. (Sadly, that last bit eludes most of us…trust me on that!)
An indie author is every bit as much of an author as those souls who see their names on the books and ebooks on the various bestseller lists.
You could also argue that perhaps an indie author is more of an author than those backed by agents, editors, publishing houses and a team of publicists. I’ll leave that thought there for you to ponder on…..
So, how do you become an indie author?
Well, you write a book for a start.
I’ve mentioned before my tale of sitting down on my doorstep on 8 May 2013 and beginning to write the story that became Stronger Within, my debut novel, almost two years later. What I’ve not really mentioned is that I kept what I was doing quiet. I didn’t go around telling friends and family that I was writing a book. A part of that was an inbuilt fear of having them laugh at me and tell me I was wasting my time. At that point I was writing a story for me for the sheer pleasure of writing it. I guess I was testing myself to see if I could actually do it.
Then a few wonderful people, my Infamous 5, got behind me and encouraged me to type up my handwritten tale and to publish it as an ebook.
That was a steep learning curve!
Let’s dispel a myth right here about self-publishing. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune to do it. I’ve done it on a shoestring budget.
There are many self-publishing options but I opted for Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) It doesn’t cost a penny to publish via KDP. Those lovely Amazon people even provide free templates to get you started and a step by step process for actually uploading your manuscript to keep you on the right track. Love those templates!
The biggest challenge, at least for me, is marketing and publicising my work. I’m naturally quite a shy person so selling my wares does not come naturally to me.
Precise figures on the subject of ebooks are hard to find. Currently there are somewhere in the region of 7.5M ebooks available on Kindle. Roughly 1700 new ebooks are published each and every day. That works out at about 70 per hour.
Sales figures are equally hard to track down but from what I can gather via Google approximately 50 000 ebooks are sold every month. That works out about 7500 per day.
Now, bear in mind, that readers have 7.5M to choose from.
As an indie author that’s an awfully big ocean to be swimming in and there are some very big fish swimming in it alongside you.
But this little indie author, who really is little more than one wee tiny krill in that vast ocean, remains undaunted.
(Repeats mantra to herself- Dreams get you started. Discipline keeps you going.)
Every time I see a little orange blob on my KDP sales report, my heart swells with pride.
Out of a choice of 7.5M available titles, someone chose one of mine!
Let me ask you in general terms – how often do you leave a review of a book you’ve read and enjoyed?
Each review and those twinkling stars that go with them are the indie author equivalent of throwing another hefty log onto the creative fire.
The very fact that not only did someone choose one of my books to invest their hard earned cash on, they also came back at a later date to say a few kind words about it.
That blows my mind!
At present, all five of my book babies are sitting proudly on Amazon.co.uk with 5* ratings overall.
To me, that’s huge! It’s a real dreams come true sight and something I am very proud to have achieved.
So back to the earlier question, how do you become an indie author? How do you actually do it?
Well, I guess you have to have a story to tell that you believe in and are passionate about.
Tell that story your own way. There are no hard and fast rules here. Write it out long hand (I do). Type it straight to Word. Do whatever works for you as an individual but tell your story your way.
Once you have that vital first draft of your book, proofread, spell check, grammar check and edit until you are sick of the sight of your own words. This is where my Infamous 5 are invaluable. I share my story with them in chunks and, in return, they offer honest critical feedback, pick up on any grammar errors, pick up on anything too Scottish in the wrong setting and spot any spelling/typing faux pas.
Before I hit “publish” on a new novel, I’ve read it at least six times from start to finish and that does not include writing it in the first instance.
Then it needs a cover before you can set it free. You can’t send your book baby out into the world naked!
Personally, I prefer quite simple eye-catching covers. No more than three things within the image to catch the attention of potential readers as they scroll through Amazon’s recommendations.
I also create my own to save costs. (I was helped out on the first one by my Rock Fairy Godmother who then taught me how to do it myself on the second one.) I’ll be honest here – Photoshop and I enjoy a love/hate relationship!
It takes a lot of time, a lot of patience and a lot of self-discipline to get a book over the line.
If this all sounds like a lot of hard work for most likely very little financial reward then you’d be right.
The key thing about us indie authors is we do it for the love of sharing our stories with you.
If you feel like sharing some love for this indie author, please take a moment to check out my books on Amazon
Silver Lake series
Amazon.com links –
Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M
Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K
Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71
Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM
Amazon.co.uk links –
Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M
Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K
Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71
Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM